From the Queens Chronicle:
Former Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio committed the crime, but leaders of local community organizations feel they are doing the time.
Approximately 20 nonprofits that serve Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Ridgewood and Glendale are struggling to make ends meet without the aid of discretionary funds that had always been provided by Seminerio, who resigned in June from the 38th District Assembly seat and pleaded guilty to fraud charges the following day.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) suspended all the disgraced politician’s member items when he fell under suspicion for misappropriating funds. A spokesman for Silver said member items were not granted to Seminerio in 2009-10, and that past funding had been suspended. He wouldn’t confirm how much money was allocated for local nonprofits, and said he was uncertain if that funding had already been used.
Newly elected Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Glendale), who was sworn in last week after the special election, says he is working to recapture some of the funding, but with only a few months left in the year, a positive outcome for the inherited dilemma doesn’t look promising.
“When someone is indicted they [Assembly leaders] have to be very careful,” Miller said.
Although none of the nonprofit organizers blamed Miller, the leaders, who represent a vast array of service-oriented groups — from welfare, health and education to senior centers and animal shelters — shared the same frustration: their services are suffering and they shouldn’t be punished for the actions of their former representative.